Bruce Springsteen, shown during a recent performance with the E Street… (Sashenka Gutierrez \ European…)
After a hearty "1, 2, 3, 4!" Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band dived into "Land of Hope of Dreams," in which the rocker opened "121212: The Concert for Sandy Relief" on an inspiring note, singing:
Leave behind your sorrows
Let this day be the last
Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine
And all this darkness past
As he's beein doing on his Wrecking Ball tour, Springsteen segued into a snippet of Curtis Mayfield's gospel-soaked "People Get Ready," then offered up the title song from "Wrecking Ball," a challenge against forces that might tempt anyone to abandon hope.
PHOTOS: The 12-12-12 concert
For this night, he changed a lyric that referred to his home in the Meadowlands to say "My home's here on the Jersey Shore," and then spit out defiant lines: "Come on and take your best shot / Let me see what you've got / Bring on your wrecking ball."
After the initial set that also included “My City of Ruins” and “Born to Run,” for which Springsteen was joined by New Jersey’s other favorite rock ‘n’ roll son, Jon Bon Jovi, emcee Billy Crystal said “I can’t believe that Bruce Springsteen is my opening act…. You can feel the electricity in the building, which means that Long Island Power is not involved.”
Later, Roger Waters took a quick hop through a couple of Pink Floyd’s classic albums, first with “In the Flesh” and “Another Brick in the Wall” from “The Wall.” Waters then turned to “Dark Side of the Moon” for “Money,” in which a profane euphemism for cow manure was bleeped, before sliding into “Us and Them.” He brought Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder out to share lead vocal duties with him on “Comfortably Numb.”
Adam Sandler proceeded to decimate Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” irreverently rewritten with lots of New York and New Jersey references, accompanied by house band leader Paul Shaffer.
Keeping the team spirit flowing, Jon Bon Jovi brought Springsteen back on stage to help out on his band’s hit “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” fleshed out with footage of Superstorm Sandy victims returning to what was left of their neighborhoods. Bon Jovi’s set also included “It’s My Life” and wrapped his part of the show with “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
The lineup at Madison Square Garden also includes The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Kanye West, the Who, Chris Martin, Alicia Keys, Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder.
On Wednesday, reports surfaced that McCartney might be fronting a reunion of the surviving members of Nirvana: drummer-guitarist Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic.
The show benefits the Robin Hood Relief Fund and is being carried on dozens of broadcast and cable TV channels nationally and internationally, including CBS, HBO, VH1 Classic, EPIX, Fuse, AXS TV and G4 and internationally on A&E International, the American Forces Network, Sony Entertainment Television, HBO (Latin America) and 37 MTV channels.
The music also is being broadcast on Clear Channel Radio stations and streamed on various websites including Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Vevo, Hulu and MTV Networks, making it accessible to 2 billion people worldwide, event organizers say.